Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's all in the tone and teaching your 4 year old about idiomatic expressions

Upon leaving a birthday party, I ended up speaking with a woman walking her dog about children's birthday parties. She then told me she had three grown children - something like 18, 23 and 25.

She looked so young, I couldn't believe it. "Get out of here!" I exclaimed. We chit chat a little bit longer. After we said our goodbyes, I rolled up my window and started driving away.

S tells me in a soft and serious voice, Mom, telling someone to get out of here is not nice.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

She automatically thought it was her sister

Picture this scene: S and D are standing next to each other on the ball field with their backs facing me. Another child, who was off the field, is running towards them. That child throws a ball and unfortunately it hits poor D from the back.
As soon as the ball strikes D, with the quick reflex of a predator in the jungle, or a sister who's been damned too many times, D makes a fist and hits S really hard. S starts crying and hits her sister back. This may have happened for a few rounds until someone broke them up.

The mom of the girl who had hit D with the ball starts apologizing profusely for being the cause of the hurt and the fight between the two girls, but I don't think it's necessary, plus I'm too busy laughing. I really wish I had it on tape.

For some reason it was really funny to me. The other parents probably thought I was mean to laugh and out of a dozen or so parents only I and this other guy (who admitted that it wouldn't be funny if it was his own children) found it funny.

Cheap date and cheap thrills

Tonight before S goes to bed, she told me it was the best day ever. Why? I asked.
She told me it was because she "got sparkly hearts and a candy can".

A candy can is a candy cane - For his own amusement, J does not correct them when they mispronounce words. Another one that he likes is when D says, "shop" for shot. Am I going to get a shop? she might ask.

Nice ending

I couldn't get the kids off the playground to go home today. After a few "five minute warnings", I started to get a little frustrated. It was already 6PM and they were still in the sandbox making "cookies". All the other families had already left. I felt like an irresponsible parent (although a level below the people who smoke pot with their kids), in allowing my preschool children to play so late.
S is focused on playing with a huge bucket, I tell her two scoops and then let's go. No, she bargains. More. I want to fill up the bucket and dump it out.
I agree to let her do it but I start scooping like a mad woman to help her fill it up. We filled it to the top and she dumps out the sand which makes a little mountain. She and D start to stomp in it. At this rate we'll never get home so I threaten to leave and start to walk away.
Finally, they leave the sandbox, we head out towards the gate....but they get sidetracked by the plentiful fallen white azaleas. Two flowers for each girl and then we go, I bark.
I unlock the gate and D runs out like a locked up criminal, heading straight into the parking lot. "FREEZE!" I yell at her. I'm so afraid she's going to get hit by a car. Let's hold hands, I suggest. S and D don't like this idea. I modify it a little and asked them to hold each other's hands while I hold one of them. For some unknown reason, this is agreeable to both of them. So we go on our way to the car. While we're walking, I'm nervously scanning for any moving vehicles.
When they are finally in the car, predictably, we had other "struggles" and mishaps.
Preempted by a four year old - First S takes off her shoes and dumps literally a liter of sand from her shoe into her car seat just as I said, Can you please give me your shoes so I can empty the sand outside the car?
A 3 yr old driver? Just what I need - D crawls into the front of the car and starts playing with the steering wheel. Seeing her there made me think of her as a teenager driving and that made me anxious. S interrupts my free floating anxious mind with a request, Can you get my ____ (I didn't quite catch what she said) for me? I bend down and strain to reach under the passenger seat to pluck out something that looks like garbage to me. It turns out to be a drawing she had made a time long ago.
As soon as it's in her hands, she starts with the complaining. It's not straight! she screams with consternation. She looks like she's going to cry. I have no idea what she's talking about. I finally figure it out and I tell her that we can get rid of the jagged edges by cutting it. Nooooo! Don't cut it! she whines fearfully as if I suggested cutting a body part. She goes back to being a broken record by repeatedly asking, Why isn't it straight? None of my explanations or solutions satisfied her. I pray that she forgets about it and move on but of course that won't happen. When she's focused on something, she can amazingly retain it with unrelenting zeal.
Meanwhile, D is still in the front seat, doing what she does best, trying to break things. This time it's the steering wheel. Because the car is parked, it's locked, but I'm confident that if I had given her enough time, she'd definitely unlock it, despite what the manufacturer may claim when a car is in the "Park" gear. I can see her saying to me, I broke it Mom, with the gleeful satisfaction after a job well done. My mind starts to drift into a daydream that we will get a nice new car if she breaks this one.
Back to reality, we have to go home! One of my children is in the driver's seat! So I bribed her to go into the car seat with some trinket.
Finally both kids are buckled in their car seats and we're headed home.
Unfortunately for me, I feel a bad mood coming on and just before it actually descends on me with full force, I get a break of light...D starts singing this ridiculous silly and funny song that made me laugh out loud.
She belted this out. It was funny, loud, obnoxious, flat and un-melodic:
WAH-TER MEL-YON, WAH-TER MEL-YON
DRIPPING DOWN MY ELBOW, DRIPPING DOWN MY ELBOW (I can actually picture this comically messy scene happening since she's such a slob with food).
SPIT OUT THE SEED, PFFFFFFFT, SPIT OUT THE SEED, PFFFFFFFT (as she bends her head to mime spitting).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

They grow up too fast

Earlier today, D told me that she had a boo boo.
Where? I asked
Right heah, she answered, lifting her head up showing me her chin.
Do you want me to kiss it? I asked.
No, that doesn't work, she replied matter of fact-ly.

My hair is definitely too cool for me

I recently got my hair highlighted and regret the results. Although I've received a lot of compliments, I feel that it looks trashy and like I'm trying to be 18.

In any event, today I was a little disoriented driving around White Plains. I was driving on the right street, but I wasn't sure if I was heading in the right direction. I nervously scan the sidewalk for pedestrians to ask for some directions. I see a very young and unsavory looking character, the type that I wouldn't normally ask for directions. I figure why not, it's a simple question that he'd probably know the answer to and it's not nice to prejudge who might know the answer to my question. He did know the answer and pointed me towards the right way. As I drove off, he yelled, YOU'RE HOT!!!

I feel so embarrassed. I could be this kid's mother. This is not the type of attention I want to generate.

Monday, April 26, 2010

This is why my cheap husband married me

Recently I vexed over the application for our temple membership. Mostly because I wasn't sure what to fill in for "Hebrew name" and the "Hebrew names" of my parents.
Finally, upon the advisement of my mother in law, I left it all blank.
Today I got a call from a temple official who inquired why I left it blank. Boy did I feel put on the spot. Then he went ahead and said, "Are you a Jewish person?" I practically felt like crying (for some reason). And I even considered lying. Anyway, very awkwardly and full of shame, I told him, Um no.
And he told me that I couldn't be a member of the temple, as per their constitution. He went on to console me about how Josh could be a member but not me but that didn't mean I wasn't welcomed to all events. Plus, we would even get mail in both our names, Mr and Mrs Josh Jupiter. I couldn't help it but feel a little left out of the club.
Finally he said that he would have to bill us at the single rate, not the family rate since only one of us (Josh) would be a member. The single rate happens to be a lot cheaper than the family rate.
After I got off the phone with him, I turned to my husband and asked him, Did you know about this? Is this why you married a shiksa? To save on your temple fees?

Keeping fingers crossed

Hope I'm not giving my daughter an eating complex. I promised her a pretzel that she waited patiently for. When I was ready to give it to her, she found a stray jelly bean on the countertop. She promptly popped it into her mouth and I told her I wasn't going to give her a pretzel since she was having the jelly bean.
She said, I can spit out the jelly bean, which she did.
Then she put it back into her mouth and started chewing again. Then she tried to pull out the green shreds.
Watching all this happening so quickly and her emotions made me so sad. I told her she could have both.
She didn't even believe it, "I can have both?" she repeated.
Yes, I told her. So she swallowed the shreds with glee and also got her pretzel.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pff!

We had a nice family day at the Museum of Natural History today but as usual I have a number of gripes.

Mainly, everything is too expensive. I believe that a museum should be available for public enjoyment, this is not possible with the exorbitant entrance fees of the MNH. Also in the museum food court, there's a sign posted, "No outside food allowed". That made me think that food would be reasonably inexpensive, but actually it wasn't. It doesn't seem like a good society when it costs a family of 4 well over $100 to have a nice morning or afternoon at the museum.

Needless to say, we ignored that sign and ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in their food court. I even got into a tussle with some French people over seating. I was there first and wasn't going to let them take my seats. It also pissed me off that they probably thought the food was uber cheap. Sigh...I remember a vacation in Italy, before the conversion to the Euro, how wonderful it felt to feel as if everything was on discount. Fast forward a few years later, J and I take a few trips to European countries and we feel totally gypped by even the smallest of purchases. I refuse to go to Europe until the currency situation improves. Unfortunately for me, I've been waiting 4 years now.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cute

"Look! She has an umbrella stick!" D says pointing to an elderly lady using a cane.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Date night: gluttony without guilt and boy are we cheap

I've been making a string of purchases recently that has left me feeling a little gluttonous and guilty.

However, last night, I was able to enjoy a lot of gluttony guilt-free.

A Fairway has opened in Westchester! Hurray!

Josh and I like to go to supermarkets together and work out the best deals so a new supermarket is like a date night.

Fairway did not disappoint. It was HUMONGOUS. They sold everything! Here are some happy acquisitions:

1. Unsalted, organic pistachios (I can't find these any where else) for $6 a lb.
2. 3 bagels for a dollar (my mom said they were sub-par and even the kids refused to eat them after toasting and a cream cheese lathering)
3. Lox for only $8 a lb!!!!!! (it was the "ends" pieces, they don't look so nice but they taste the same as their good looking counterparts).
4. Muir Glen Organic canned tomatoes for $1.20 a can.
5. Extra large eggs for $1.
6. Organic milk for $2.50 a half gallon. Conventional milk for $1.89 a gallon.
7. The nicest looking tilapia I've ever seen for $4 a lb.
8. Strawberries for $1.25 lb.
9. Green beans for $1 a lb

It goes on and on. One nice thing was that we didn't have to buy huge quantities of anything and there are no club cards or coupons to deal with. Then again, maybe my mother in law gets better deals, I wouldn't want to go head to head with her. I think sometimes they end up paying her to take stuff out of their stores.

Any way, as if this wasn't enough excitement, we also got $10 off $75 - It was a little nerve wracking trying to get to exactly $75, but we did it. $75.66 to be exact.

I don't remember the last time I was this excited with my husband. I can't wait to go back because we have another one of those $10 off $75 coupons.

My husband knows me

Josh left this cartoon on my desk for me:

I don't know if it's clear, but basically it's an old person on his deathbed saying, "I should have bought more crap." Hehehehehehee!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sounds like a criminal to me

"How does a police officer help you?" a school project that my daughter worked on.

She replied, "They don't help me because I don't have any problems."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Life is complicated

The other day S was yelling Ouch! from the back of the car.
What's the matter? I asked.
She replied, My finger hurts. I don't want to touch it but I always touch it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I think this is healthy - making myself useless.

Because I'm a fairly new parent of multiple children, I wasn't always confident about how to handle disagreements between my children. I would do what my parents used to do, which was get involved in the arguments and adjudicate as I saw fit.
And then I read something about how parents should minimize getting involved for a few reasons:
1. Better to let your children work it out so they can learn interpersonal skills and how to deal with each other in a positive way.
2. You could damage the family relationships because your children may see your decisions as unfair and it could appear that you favor one child over another.
3. There are two sides to every story and let's face it, it is tough to be objective.

All of this sounded reasonable to me but I was still unsure until a few events precipitated that made me realize that this really is the way to go. For example, once, I heard D crying and hurling insults at S. So I went over to tell D about how I'm going to put her in a timeout. A friend of mine happened to see the whole incident unfold and told me that I focused on the wrong child. S actually started destroying all of D's handiwork and it made D upset.

So what I do now, even when one of them comes to me to plea their case, is tell them to work it out amongst themselves. And any gripes they have should be directed towards the person and not to me. And I like to remind anyone who comes to me with an issue or gripe towards their sibling that it's not nice to be a tattle and that you need to confront the person who made you upset.

Come to think of it, I can remember when my parents got involved in a situation and the frustration and resentment that I felt when I thought it was patently unfair.

I like knowing that I don't need to solve my children's problems but teach them how to do it themselves. At the end of the day, if they don't need me, I've done my job well as a parent.

Harvard Reunion Social and Judaic humor

My husband invited me to come with him to his class reunion social in Manhattan the other day.
We were in an amazing apartment with serious views and priceless artwork.
It felt very stuffy.

But anyway, I ended up talking to someone who I'd known in the past about circumcision of all things. He just had a baby with his wife and he told me that he was relieved that it was a girl. He also said something that surprised both me and Josh - that he wouldn't have circumcized had it been a boy. His reasoning was novel - he felt that he and his wife were Jewish enough or rather so Jewish that they didn't need to adhere to customs that they felt were just pure insanity.

He had commented that Jewish guys who marry shiksas feel like they need to circumcize to validate the Jewishness. Food for thought. It made me think of two of my favorite Jew jokes -

One, that I could possibly be more Jewish than my husband since I married Jewish. Ha! I love that one.

Two - this is a joke I heard from Josh who heard it from his friend. A boy and his father are standing outside a synagogue during Rosh Hashana. A line of people have formed and the boy asks his father what they're doing. The father explains that they're Jews going to service. The boy is puzzled and tells his dad, But I thought we're Jews?
The dad clarifies, "Son, THEY are JEWS. We are Jew-ISH."

I have been finding myself in a lot of social situations where people ask me, Are you Jewish?
And I sometimes reply, "Yes, I'm Jew-ISH."

Still a little mad

I'd like to think that I'm not one of those sensitive and partially out of touch mothers who refuse or won't admit to any of their children's faults. In fact, I freely talk about my children's faults and will call a behavior like I see it - bitchy, whiny, slow, emotionally disturbed, lame or whatnot (not in front of them because I'm not into giving any of them a complex).

But there is one thing that someone has said about my son that I've taken umbrage with. It's been 7 weeks now, I didn't even hear the comment firsthand and I'm still a little upset over it.

My husband told me that as the mohel was about to perform the circumcision, he remarked as he pulled back the foreskin, "See there's schmutz in it already." Poor Dillon is just a baby, about to experience the greatest pain of his albeit heretofore short life. And he's so innocent. Does he deserve such a mean-spirited, narrow-minded and insensitive comment? We're about to circumcise the poor thing, the moment is already filled with a lot of nervousness and tension and for me, a little bit of fear, doubt and guilt. Did I need such a scornful and gratuitous sales pitch from the person who is the most in control of the situation?

It makes me think that there must be a special place either in heaven or hell for those whose job it is to inflict pain and perform elective surgery (as requested by parents) on baby boys penises day in and day out.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fruit Snack my ass

The marketing team of the "Fruit Snack" products are geniuses because "Fruit Snack" is really just "snack". They are actually like gummy bears masquerading as a healthy snack. Most of them don't even contain any fruit or fruit juice - it's a total joke and the name should be illegal. Hello, FDA, wake up!
I can't even believe that schools give these out to children.
And that it became a part of my daughter's vocabulary. So I set about to fix that, explaining to her what "Fruit Snacks" really are. So today when she told me that she got Fruit Snacks at a playdate but she knows they're really gummies, it just warmed my heart.

What made me laugh out loud was when she said, Why do some mommies give out a lot of junk and other mommies don't?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You can't trick me

This morning as D was sitting on the potty, she complained that it hurt.
I told her that when you don't eat fruits and vegetables you get hard poopy.
I reminded her how she scarfed down the pretzels which makes poopy hard.
"I JUST had pretzels" she retorted.

My Irish Daughter

Last night I went into S's room to do a final tuck in. She was happily dancing a little jig on top of her bed. What are you doing? I asked.
"Doing an Irish dance" she answered matter of factly.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Can't wait for homophones and palindromes

It always amazes me when my two children at 4ish and 2ish can have a coherent conversation with each other.

A few months ago, D was saying Who beeped the horn?, a favorite question of hers when she is riding in the car and hears someone honk the horn.
Meanwhile, S quickly said, Mooooom, D said Poopy the horn. I don't know if this is what she actually heard and she's trying to get clarification or she's engaging in a favorite activity of hers, getting her sister into trouble. Judging by her tone, it's more the latter.
Of course D is now bigger and smarter, very capable of defending herself (much more capable and mature than the days when S would ride a tricycle and D would crawl after her and sometimes D would get her fingers run on, poor thing). D retorted, No I didn't say POOPY the horn, I said WHO BEEPED the horn.
It always amuses me to hear them bickering comprehensibly considering how much nonsense they used to say.

Is this sanitary?

My mom (who's obsessed with killing germs) and other Thai people I've lived with (who isn't obsessed with sterilizing) and remember (my dad) both believe in what I think is a strange practice. They bring stuff to a boil and leave it sitting (outside of the fridge), believing that this is a hygienic way to store food. I've been thinking that this actually creates more bacteria or germs. Or maybe my husband put that idea into my head. In any case we agree on this one. And recently I thought I read that after cooking food, store it right away in the fridge - do not wait for it to cool down.

The other day, I made a huge pot of soup. After eating some, I was remarking to my mother how I didn't look forward to putting it all in Tupperware so that it can be stored in the fridge. Quick as the ninja that she is, she turned on the gas and said, Just bring it to a boil and leave it there. This time, I was especially confused because it came to a boil just under an hour ago.


I'd like to know 2 things:
I need to find out if this is pure genius or insanity.
I'm going to poll all the other Thai people I know to find if this practice is more widespread.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thanks Josh

Sometimes it ends up being really nice when you have a cheap and controlling Jewish husband who refuses to let you buy a KitchenAid stand mixer because he thinks the Cuisinart (food processor) can do the same job. He then proves it by making 4 sweet and delicious challahs using the Cuisinart.

UPDATE: It's also nice that he takes in stride whatever insults I may hurl on him on the World Wide Web.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This made me laugh

A lady in a ginormous monster truck was backing out of a parking spot at the supermarket today. It took her more than 5 tries. She honked at me to move my shopping cart. I thought there was enough clearance but I complied and moved it.

A 70 year old James Dean wanna-be (complete with the over-gelled hair, distressed leather jacket and low cut t-shirt) pulled up next to me and started sympathizing. "She had more than enough room; she shouldn't be driving that thing if she can't drive."

"Maybe I shouldn't have left the cart there," I said. I always feel bad about not putting it back in the front of the store. It seems so wasteful to hire an entire person to do this job.

"It's not your fault, honey," he croaked. Geez, he must smoke like 2 packs a day. "Everyone leaves their carts out."

Then he promptly parks his car into a handicapped spot! I didn't see a handicapped sticker or plate. I was going to stick around and see if he walked without any aids. If not, I was fantasizing about telling him off even though he was siding with me re: the shopping cart.

Of course I did nothing and drove off chuckling.

Downpour

I asked Sadie to pour out some bread crumbs for me as I was breading some fish fillets. She brought over the container and poured waaaay too much out. Right away I realized I should've coached her through it to pour it out gently and with control.

"Oh, it's too much!" I exclaim with some calamity since I don't like waste.

"That's because kids don't know how much grown ups want," says S wisely.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Do they design these things with 4 yr olds in mind?

Yesterday, I was browsing the Internet on a laptop with S standing right by me. Things were quiet and uneventful until a pop up window came up. Like a well-honed reflex, I automatically closed it. S started whining. "What was that? I want that!". I think the window might've had flashing gumballs, but I didn't look at it long enough to process anything about the nuisance window.
"S, it was junk mail." I told her. But this didn't placate her.
"I want junk mail!" she declared boisterously. "Give me junk mail!!!!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mommy's little helper

The two of them relish the other being punished.

S was in a timeout in the living room when she started whining and belting out some insults. Something about putting a spell on me. So her timeout escalated to a timeout in the basement.

"I'll open the door for you!" D says gleefully, running to open the basement door.

Poor Sadie

She's got her issues and is no angel but she's definitely straight-laced when compared with her wily sister.
Two examples:

"Mommmeeeee," Sadie whines. "Dazee's calling me stupid!" she tattles.
"I'm not calling her stupid," says D. "I said nubid!" She turns to her sister, repeating her torment, "NUBID, NUBID, NUBID!!!"

"Stop it Dazee! I don't like it!" S yells in desperation. She's being chased and she can't find a way out. "But I just want to hug you!" D repeats in an overly sweet voice as she chases her sister. Round and round they go around the house repeating this exchange.